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972. Proceedings against RICHARD THOMPSON,* Clerk, for a
High Misdemeanor against the Privilege of Parliament : 32 CHARLES II. A. D. 1680.
HOUSE OF COMMONS, November 9, 1680.
December 8. ORDERED, That Richard Thompson, clerk, A Petition of Richard Thompson, clerk, in be sent for in custody of the serjeant at arms custody of the serjeant at arms, having been attending this House, to answer at the bar of read, it was ordered, That the consideration this House, for his high Misdemeanor against thereof, as also of the matter of the complaint the Privilege of this House. I
as possessed by them almost exclusively for the I appoint Francis Smith, and Benjamin purpose of protection from attacks of preroga. Harris, to print this Report and Resolution, tive. And of such privileges it may be truly ' perused by me, according to the Order of the said, in the words of the Remonstrance and Pe. House of Commons : And that no other per- tition presented to Charles the First by both son presume to print the same, December 24, Houses on Dec. 17th, 1641, (See 1 Clarendoza's * 1680.
W. WILLIAMS, Speaker.' Hist. of the Rebellion, 328. 8vo ed. 2 Cobb. + Oldmixon calls this Thompson a
Parl. Hist. 978.) that “ they are the birth-right
poisy, and inheritance not only of the two Houses of insolent, ignorant priest,” and adds, “I the more liberty with him because I knew him." parliament but of the whole kingdom, wherein It appears that the king soon after these pro- but it is by no means clear that this may with
one of the king's subjects is interested ;" ceedings made him dean of Bristol.
equal truth be said of an uncontrolled discreI I have not found in the Journals any ear- tionary power in each House of parliament to her entry concerning this matter of Richard imprison for whatever such House of parliament Thompson, nor does it appear so distinctly as shall adjudge to be a contempt towards itself: might be wished in what respects his “ high more particularly if a like uncontrolled discremisdemeanor" was “ against the privilege of tionary power in courts is to be supported by the House."
analogy to this. It is observable that Mr. Justice Blackstone, Upon the whole matter it may, perhaps, be in speaking of Privilege of Parliament, seems to safely said that whatever be the extent of paruse the term in its more confined sense, of an liamentary privileges, every patriotic member immunity or exemption from such direct inter- of parliament will concar in the sentiment exruptions and molestations, as obstruct the exer- pressed by the learned and upright sir Robert cise of the functions of parliament, and from Atkyns in the Case of lord Clarevdon. (See vol. the Hability to have their freedom of speech and 6 of this Collection, p. 355). Though prividebates and proceedings in parliament impeach- lege is much spoken of, I shall never be fond of alor questioned in any court or place out of par- any privilege which shall intrench upon my liliament. He does indeed say, that to assaust by berty as a subject:" and that every wise House violence a member of either House or his me- of Commons, knowing that confidence and afnial servant is a high contempt of parliament, fection between them and the body of the peoand there punished with the utmost severity: ple is the great foundation of their dignity and but with this exception, he seems to contem- importance in the state, will be very abstemious plate all their privileges, and especially when he in the exercise of any power by which that conspeaks of their indefiniteness, (See the note to the fidence and aflection is liable to be diruinished or Case of Shirley and Fagg, ante, vol. 6, p. 1121.) impaired.
for which he stood committed, should be referred be pulled out of their houses, and the gaols filled to a committee to examine the matter thereof, with them : and wished their houses burnt. and to report the same, with their opinions The third saith, That he was cited to the therein, to the House.
Bishop's Court, to receive the Sacrament last
Easter ; but being out of town at that time, did December 23.
receive it at a place called Purl in Wiltshire ; Colonel Birch reports from the committee to and that a month after he came home, was whom the examination of the complaint against again cited to the said Court, and he did accordRichard Thompson, clerk, was referred, That ingly appear, and told the Court, that he hoped the committee having taken the same into their his absence and business might be accepted for consideration, had directed him to make a spe- a lawful excuse ; upon which Mr. Thompson cial Report thereof to the House: which he immediately said, that they would proceed to read in his place, and afterwards delivered the excommunicate him. Upon which, this insame in at the clerk's table.
formant produced his certiticate, of which the Ordered, That the said Report be read at the Chancellor approved, and said it was lawful. table to-morrow morning.
Hereupon Mr. Thompson said, that bis receivDecember 24.
ing the Sacrament from any other minister,
than the minister of the parish wherein he The Report from the Committee of the Com- dwelled, was darnnation to his soul; and that
mons in Parliament, appointed to consider he would maintain this doctrine. the Petition of Richard Thompson, and to
The fourth saith, That being at Bristol examine the matter of the Complaint fair he heard a great talk and noise of a against him.
Satire-sermon prepared, and designed to be In the first place, the committee read unto preached by Mr. Thompson against the Presthe said Thompson, the heads of the complaints byterians, on the Soth of January, 1679; and against him ; which (for the most part) he de- that very many resorted to hear him : in which nying, desired to have his accusers brought sermon the said Mr. Thompson declared and face to face: whereupon the committee pro- said, that there was a great talk of a plot: but ceeded to the examination of witnesses, to prove (says he) a Presbyterian is the man; and furthe said complaint.
ther added, that the villain Hampden scrupled The first Witness examined, saith, That to give the king 208. upon Ship-money and there being a great noise aud rumour, that Mr. Loan, which was due by law, but did not scruThompson had prepared a sermon to be preach- ple to raise rebellion against him. ed on the 30th of January, 1679, the said The fifth saith, That Mr. Thompson, in a witness went to the said sermon, and did hear sermon preached the 30th of January, 1679, Mr. Thompson publicly declare, that the Pres- did say, that the presbyterians did seem to outSyterians were such persons, as the very devil vie Mariana, and that Calvin was the first that bluebed at them; and that the villain Hamp- preached the king-killing doctrine; and that den grudged, and made it more seruple of con- after he had quoted Calvin often, said, if this be science, to give twenty shillings to the king, for true then, a Presbyterian brother, qua talis, is supplying his necessities by Ship-money and as great a traitor as any priest or Jesuit: and Loan, which was his right by law, than to raise that then he condemned all the proceedings of rebellion against him. And that the Presbyte- parliament. rians are worse (and far more intolerable) than The sixth saith, That he the said Mr. Thompeither priests or jesuits.
son, had uttered many scandalous words conThe second saith, That hearing a great talk cerning the act for burying in woollen ; affirmand noise spread of a sermon to be preached by ing, that the makers of that law were a comMr. Thompson, on the 30th of January, 1679"; pany of old fools and fanatics, and that he he was minder to hear the same, and according would bring a school-boy should make a better ly did ; at which he writ some notes: amongst act than that, and construe it when he had done. which, he saith, that Mr. Thompson openly The seventh saith, That Mr. Thompson in preached, that the devil blushed at the Presby. Sermon by him preached (while petitions for terians; and that the villain Hampden grudged sitting of this parliament were on foot) speakmore to give the king twenty shillings, which ing of a second rebellion by the Scotch, who was his just due by law (Ship-money and Loan), had framed a formidable army, and came than to pise rebellion against bim; and that a far as Durham, to deliver a petition forsooth; Presbyterian brother, qua talis, was as great a and that they seemed rather to command than traitor by the statute, as any priest of jesuit petition their sovereign to grant; and comparwhatsoever. That he heard, that Mr. Thomp- ing that petition with the then petition on foot, son said, that he hoped the Presbyterians would greatly inveighed against it, and scoffed much
In sir Edwin Sandys's Case, Mr. Chancellor The eighth saith, That Mr. Thompson (when of the Dutchy wisely observed, . It is an easier the petition was on foot for the sitting of this
matter to raise an inflammation by the spe- parliament) used at the funeral sermon of one cious title of privileges than to allay it again.' Mr. Wharton these words (pointing at the dead See Proceedings and Debates of the House of said), that he was no schismatical petitioning Commons in 1620, and 1621, vol. 2, p. 259. rebel, and that by bis instigations the grand
jury of Bristol made a presentment of their | Thompson, in Redcliff church, in his sermon detestation against petitioning for the sitting of said, it was a seditious and rebellious petition, the parliament; that the said Mr. Thompson and rather than he would sign it, his hand had told him, that he was governor to Mr. should be cut off. Narbor, when he was beyond sea; and said, The fourteenth saith, The 8th day of April, that he had been very often (and above one he going to pay Mr. Thompson his dues, hundred times) at mass in the great church at speaking concerning the meeters in private ; Paris, and usually gave half a crown to get a Mr. Thompson said, he would haul them out, place to hear a certain Doctor of that church, and fill the gaols with them, and hoped to see and thrat he was like to be brought over to that their houses a fire about their ears in a short religion; and that when he went beyond sea, time; and this he, the said Thompson, doudid not know but that he might be of that re- bled again and again. ligion before his return. That he is very cen- The fifteenth saith, That about December, sorious, and frequently casts evil aspersions 1679, Mr. Thompson came to visit his mother, against several divines at Bristol of great note, being sick; and discoursing of religion, vi. Mr. Chetwind, Mr. Standfast, Mr. Cros- Thompson said, if he were as well satisfied of man, Mr. Palmer, and others, saying, that other things, as he was of justification, auricu. such as went to their lectures were the brats of lar confession, penance, extreme unction, and the devil.
chrism in baptism, he would not have been so The ninth saith, That Mr. Thompson in his long separated from the Catholic Church. preaching inveighed bitterly against subscrib- And further affirmed, that the Church of ing petitions for sitting of this parliament, say- Rome was the true Catholic Church. He ing, that it was the seed of rebellion, and like further endeavoured to prove extreme unction,
Forty-one; and that the devil set them on and auricular confession, as well as he could, work, and the devil would pay them their ont of the Epistles. Further, he hath heard wages; saying, that before he would set his him say, the king was a person of a mean and kand to such petitions, he would cut it off, yea soft temper, and could be led easily to any and cut them off.
thing, but yet a Solomon in vices; but that the The tenth saith, That about two years since, duke of York was a prince of a brave spirit, being in the chancel of St. Thomas's church in would be faithful to his friends, and that it was Bristol, where queen Elizabeth's effigies is, Mr. our own faults that he was a Roman catholic, Thompson pointing his finger to it, said, that in that we forced him to fly into France, where she was the worst of women, and a most lewd he embraced that religion. About the same and infamous woman; upon which this in- time, he the said Thompson said the church forniant replied, he never
heard any speak ill would be militant ; but greatly commented the of her: thereupon Mr. Thompson said, she decency of solemnizing the mass in France; was no better than a church-robber, and that and that it was performed with much more Hen. 8, begun it, and that she finished it. reverence and devotion than any other religion
The elerenth, Rowe, saith, That in the year doth use. He further heard him say, in a Ser1678, be waited on the mayor to church, and mon, about the time of petitioning, he would that Mr. Thompson, who was there, railed at rather cut off bis hand than sign it, and had Men. 8, saying, he did more hurt in robbing the many bad expressions of it; that it was the Abbey lands, than he did good by the refor- seed of rebellion, and like forty and forty-one. mation. That after dinner, Mr. Thompson
And further, the said Mr. Thompson, at one comes to this informant, and claps his hands on
Sandford's shop-door in Bristol, speaking of his shoulders, saying, Hah, boy, had queen
Bedloe, said, that he was not to be believed, Elizabeth been living, you needed not to have because Bedloe had said he, meaning Mr. been sword-bearer of Bristol. The said Rowe Thompson, was at St. Omer's, where Mr. asked hiro why? He replied, She loved such a Thompson said he was not; and that Bedloe busty rogue (so well) as he was ; and he would was of a bad life, and in many Plots, and not have been very fit for her drudgery at White- to be credited in any thing he said. And that ball.
in another discourse he commended the RomThe twelfth saith, That he heard a great ish clergy for their single life, and is himnoise of a sermon to be preached by Mr. self so ; and did at the same time vilify and Thompson on the 30th of January, 1679, to rail at the English clergy for marrying; saythe second part of the same tune; and that he ing, it was better for a clergyman to be gelt was present at the same sermon, in which Mr. than to marry; and that the Calvinists in Thompson said, there was a great noise of a France were lecherous fellows, and could searce Popish Plot, but, says he, here is nothing in it be two years a priest without a wife. About bat a Presbyterian Plot; for here they are the time, and after the election of sir John going about to petition for the sitting of the par- Knight to this parliament, Mr. Thompson lament, but the end of it will be to bring the said, he was not fit to be believed, and as bad king's head to the block, as they have done his as any fanatic. He further said in the pulpit father.
at St. Thomas's, that after excommunication The thirteenth saith, That in January last, by the bishop, without absolution from the or thereabouts, there was a petition going about spiritual court, such a one was surely damned; for the sitting of this parlíanent; when Mr. and he would pawn his soul for the truth of it.